Medicinal marijuana in the Philippines: Is this finally happening?
What do you think, Mr. President?
Aug 16, 2017
President Rodrigo Duterte might still be fighting the war on drugs (even though he recently admitted that he can’t control it), but a new bill that will legalize medicinal marijuana in the Philippines is gaining support in the House of Representatives.
We can’t ignore the contrast: While thousands of people died in Duterte’s pursuit of ridding the country of illegal drugs, House Bill No. 180, or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, “would improve, if not prolong, the lives of people who ingest marijuana as medicine.”
According to Isabela Representative Rodito T. Albano III, the bill’s principal author, House Bill No. 180 is being reviewed by a technical working group.
To be clear, marijuana is number one on the list of dangerous drugs under Republic Act No. 9165, otherwise known as the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002. But in the same provision, it says that it doesn’t entirely prohibit the use of dangerous drugs.
“The government shall, however, aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous acts.”
Filipino doctors are still divided on legalizing cannabis, but if the bill gets passed, here are some of its medicinal benefits:
It can treat Glaucoma
Glaucoma is an eye disease that increases pressure in the eyeball, damaging the optic nerve and causing loss of vision. According to the National Eye Institute, studies in the early 1970s showed that when marijuana is smoked, it can lower intraocular pressure (IOP) in people with normal pressure and those who have glaucoma.
It can control epileptic seizures
Robert DeLorenzo of Virginia Commonwealth University conducted a study by giving marijuana extract and synthetic marijuana to epileptic rats. The seizures were suppressed for about 10 hours. Cannabinoids control seizures by binding to brain cells responsible for controlling excitability and regulating relaxation.
There’s a chemical found in marijuana that can stop cancer from spreading
Cannabidiol (CBD) can stop cancer by turning off a gene called Id-1, says a study published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. Cancer cells seem to make more copies of this gene than noncancerous cells, as it helps them (cancer) spread throughout the body.
Albano is still pushing for the bill’s approval despite opposition from what he calls “uninformed” quarters. He filed the bill in 2014 “to let patients have access to medical cannabis.”
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